Sharjah Art Foundation, in collaboration with Naqd, announced an open call for applications from UAE-based artists for the new Forsa School programme. The four-month-long professional development programme features a range of public seminars, private sessions and one-on-one mentorship sessions that focus on the practical skills and knowledge that artists need to navigate the UAE’s art industry. The programme runs from 7 November 2020 to 13 February 2021.

Covering essential topics for their career development, Forsa School offers artists in-depth instruction and close guidance from key industry professionals in a number of areas, including financing, project planning, licensing, intellectual property, marketing, pricing and communication. The programme will also cover interpersonal issues such as overcoming artistic blocks, sustaining a long-term art practice and working closely with clients, galleries and art institutions. The programme aims to support the development of cultural and artistic production by addressing the challenges faced by local artists and presenting solutions and best practices.

Running both online and on-site at Sharjah Art Foundation venues, the programme will include occasional off-site visits to studios in Sharjah and other emirates. A number of public seminars will be live-streamed online for general audiences.

Forsa School is free and open to UAE-based artists and art practitioners over 21 years of age. Participants interested in joining the programme should provide a CV, a portfolio with up to five recent artworks/projects and a 500-word artist statement.

Eligibility criteria to join Forsa School:

• Applicants must be over the age of 21.
• Applicants must have a valid Emirates ID.
• Applicants must be university graduates in the arts or a related field or have equivalent career experience.
• Applicants must provide a comprehensive CV.
• Applicants must present a portfolio that includes up to five recent artworks/projects with clear descriptions and labels.
• Applicants must submit artist statement (maximum 500 words) describing at least three challenges faced in their careers and how they hope to address them, their commitment to a career in the arts, their perspective on the creative landscape of the UAE and reasons why they should be considered for this programme.
• Applicants must commit to attending at least two sessions every week.

To participate in this programme, click here.

A list of tutors and instructors will be shared in the coming weeks.

About Naqd

Naqd Critique is a platform for artist-led critique sessions focused on contemporary art practices. Artists, curators, researchers, academics, gallerists and members of the community are invited to join and engage in critique sessions. Naqd was created to provide needed feedback and constructive criticism for artists and creatives to benefit their growth and development.

Forsa, which means ‘opportunity’ in Arabic, is a reaction to the impact COVID-19 has had on creative practitioners who now find themselves with cancelled projects and little or no income. The platform collects data through a submission form from vulnerable freelancers with the aim of compiling the bios, portfolios and CVs of these talented professionals in hopes of securing them opportunities, commissions, projects and grants.

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Forsa School

Forsa School is a new learning programme organised by Sharjah Art Foundation in collaboration with Naqd (Rania Jishi) and Nahla Tabbaa. Forsa School supports UAE-based artists, creatives and practitioners and provides them with the practical knowledge and professional skills needed to navigate the local art industry.